Message From Israeli citizens to the Toronto Raptors – Please do not help Israel whitewash its occupation and apartheid crimes

Learn more & sign in solidarity the statement from Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within)

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The statement below can be found on the the Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within website.

July 2019

Dear Raptors,

We are Israeli citizens, active against the occupation, apartheid, and colonialism policies of successive Israeli governments towards the Palestinian people [1]. Many of us are basketball and NBA fans. We note that some of you have already spoken out in favor of turning down an invitation to the White House under the racist President Donald Trump. We congratulate you for making the right decision.

However, we are alarmed by reports about your team’s visit to Israel. We believe such a visit would serve the Israeli government in its attempts to whitewash its racist policies. We therefore call on you not to take part in it. 

The Palestinian people have been facing Israel’s colonial brutality for decades. Hundreds of thousands of them were violently driven out of their homes in Palestine in 1948, in a catastrophe known as the Nakba [2]. As of now, millions of Palestinians are living under Israel’s military occupation or siege in the Gaza strip and the West Bank. Gaza is the world’s largest open-air prison, with appalling human rights conditions. Israel has inflicted death or horrific injuries on tens of thousands of civilian protesters in the past 15 months [3]. The West Bank is home to hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers living at the expense of millions of Palestinians whose land is being robbed [4]. Inside Israel, Palestinian citizens are facing growing explicit racism, as manifested recently by the enactment of the so-called “Nation-State law”, which denies them equality and legitimizes discrimination against them in everyday life. 

We note that numerous athletes have said no to invitations to propaganda junkets in Israel. One example occurred in February 2017, when over half of a delegation of NFL players pulled out of an all-expense paid trip to Israel, following comments by the Israeli tourism minister claiming they would become “ambassadors of goodwill for Israel”. Michael Bennett, the first player to withdraw, noted in a public statement:

I will not be used in such a matter…I want to be a ‘voice for the voiceless,’ and I cannot do that by going on this kind of trip to Israel.” [6]

We call on Raptors players to stand with the oppressed, from North America to Palestine. Please join millions of people worldwide in the struggle for justice and equality for the Palestinian people. Please say no to Donald Trump and his racist policies, and to Benjamin Netanyahu and his racist policies. Please say no to a Raptors junket to Israel!

We will gladly address any questions or comments you may have

Sincerely,

Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within)

[1] http://www.boycottisrael.info

[2] https://zochrot.org/ 

[3] https://www.btselem.org/press_release/20190318_gaza_demonstrations_investigations_charade

[4] https://www.btselem.org/topic/freedom_of_movement 

[5] https://www.adalah.org/en/tag/index/1456

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/feb/15/nfl-players-israel-trip-michael-bennett